Choose from 4 Fun Things to Do in Tamarindo
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Towering 6,653 feet above the northwestern plains, Miravelles volcano is the highest peak in the region of Guanacaste. The air up here is refreshingly cool when compared to the tropical beaches, and adventurous day trips up Miravalles volcano provide a way to escape the coast for the wild, rain-soaked interior. Though technically classified as a dormant volcano, Miravelles still carries enough heat to cause geysers and pockets of steam. Hiking to naturally heated mud baths is a popular visitor activity, and the smell of sulfur hangs in the air like the clouds that cling to the trees. Hiking, horseback riding, and ziplining tours all dot the volcanic slope, and for a dose of authentic rainforest adventure, make the hike to Celeste Waterfall that thunders into a cerulean lagoon in the middle of a tropical rainforest. When you aren’t bathing in natural hot springs or cooling off beneath falls, scan the treetops for colorful signs of dozens of species of birds. Thanks in part to a microclimate that’s caused by the lush volcano, the birdwatching here is some of the best you’ll find in Costa Rica, and whether you’re wobbling your way across suspension bridges or riding tractors to get there, visiting Miravelles volcano is a highlight of touring Guanacaste.
Miravelles volcano is approximately 90 minutes from the Guanacaste coast. Day trips from Tamarindo and Playa del Coco are a popular way to visit, and the nearest town is the town of Bagaces about 30 minutes away. Should you choose to visit, be sure to bring clothes that can get dirty and wet and a sturdy pair of shoes.
Address: Guanacaste and Northwest, Costa Rica, Costa Rica
From $ 110
Costa Rica is known for its incredible natural beauty, laid back vibes and picture-perfect views. Nowhere is this more evident than the Rio Negro Hot Springs. This pristine destination is home to six thermal pools with waters that are naturally heated by the nearby Ricon de la Vieja Volcano. A constant flow of water from a crystal clear river ensures the pools are always being replenished.
Tired travelers will have the chance to experience true rejuvenation on a visit to this popular destination. They can enjoy the healing benefits of a volcanic mud bath by smoothing clay over their entire body, then taking a dip in a thermal pool once it’s dried. Rio Negro Hot Springs is the perfect natural escape for visitors to Costa Rica who want to experience ultimate luxury and ultimate relaxation.
Travelers can get to Rio Negro using one of two transportation options: Horseback or car/minibus. Horses can be picked up at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin for a 1.5-hour trip each way. Minibuses also depart from the same location for a ride that is about 20 minutes each way. Entrance to the hot springs is $10 and includes a towel.
Address: Guachipelin, Guanacaste and Northwest, Costa Rica, Costa Rica
From $ 120
Whether it’s the feeling of seashells squishing softly between your toes as you walk, or the masseuse’s hands kneading into your back as waves splash gently on the coast, Playa Conchal has a calming feel that encapsulates pura vida. This mostly undeveloped, somewhat hidden beach has a South Pacific feel, where turquoise water beautifully blends with the pinkish hue of the sand. Grab a snorkel mask and dive right in to swim with colorful reef fish, or explore the length of the beach on horseback while enjoying a saddle-view sunset. With the exception of the all-inclusive luxury resort on the beach’s northern end, Playa Conchal is serenely empty and a welcome break from the crowds. Beachgoers who want a little more action can hang around the resort, where jet ski rentals and mobile vendors help bring Conchal to life. Or, if the only sounds you want to hear are wind, waves, and your footsteps, take a leisurely stroll down the beach to find your own private spot. While Playa Conchal is definitely one of Guanacaste’s best beaches, there’s plenty of it to go around for every visitor to enjoy.
Playa Conchal is located 30 minutes from Tamarindo and an hour from the airport at Liberia. Aside from the all-inclusive resort, there are budget accommodations in Brasilito a 15 minute walk up the beach. To access Playa Conchal itself, you can either make the enjoyable stroll from the beach at Brasilito, or drive on the sand at lower tide and hope you don’t get caught.
Address: Playa Conchal, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
From $ 85
Once the site of a quiet fishing village, Tamarindo Beach has become one of Costa Rica's most popular stretches of golden sand. Surfers travel from across the globe to ride Tamarindo's waves, but you don’t need to be a pro to hang 10 here. There are spots nearby that are calm enough for first-time wave riders to learn.
This beach has become one of the most developed on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. Some visitors say the beach town has lost its authentic charm, while others enjoy the modern restaurants, nightlife, and creature comforts. Regardless, the mile-long, crescent-shaped beach offers plenty of space to sunbathe; the shallow, calm waters make for good swimming conditions; and sailing, kayaking, fishing, and surfing are all popular activities. All-terrain vehicle tours and sailing cruises are also available.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Surfers take note: Waves are said to be best close to the estuary.
- There are many facilities and lodging options in the town of Tamarindo, or you can head across the river to Playa Grande for a more quiet atmosphere.
- Parking can be difficult to find and parking guards will sometimes charge a fee.
How to Get There
Located on Costa Rica's northern Pacific Coast, Tamarindo Beach is five hours from San José by car and only an hour from the international airport in Liberia. There are also two public bus routes to Tamarindo from San José and Liberia, as well as shared shuttle options from both cities.
When to Get There
Although the temperature is always mild, high season is November through April when days are warm and sunny. This is also nesting season for leatherback and green sea turtles in nearby Playa Grande, where observation tours are available. The summer months of June through September often see torrential amounts of rain.
Nearby Barra Honda Caves
Located inside Barra Honda National Park, a 1.5-hour drive from Tamarindo, these well-preserved limestone caves feature stalactites, stalagmites, and other calcareous formations. They are a big draw for eco-tourists and climbers, but keep in mind, you’ll need to be outfitted with the appropriate climbing gear and be accompanied by a guide to explore the caves.
Address: Costa Rica
From $ 55